Alumni Spotlight: Rosalyn Cain King, PharmD ’76

In her memoir From Watts to the World: A Chronicle of Service, Rosalyn Cain King, PharmD ’76, shares highlights from a 58-year career that began as a pharmacist at Watts Health Center in Los Angeles and included working as a staff member at the American Pharmacists Association, serving as founding director of the Pharmacists and Continuing Education Center at Howard University, and providing healthcare in Romania, Nigeria and communities throughout several continents.

King, who continues to serve as a trustee officer of the National Pharmaceutical Association Foundation, played an integral role in engaging minority student pharmacists, which included efforts to establish the Student National Pharmaceutical Association.

Why did you decide to write a book?
When I retired, many people asked me about my career. My book is a chronicle of the activities I had the privilege of being involved in. One of your formative experiences was working at Watts Health Center.

How did that shape your worldview?
It was invigorating. As a senior pharmacist there, my eyes were opened as to what I as a pharmacist needed to do as a clinical team member in providing healthcare to patients. I was asked to lead the team in the development of ways to use pharmacists’ skills and knowledge innovatively.

You went on to work at Howard University. What were some of the highlights of your international efforts there?
In Romania, I led a collaborative project with the University of Cluj-Napoca to support the training of community pharmacists in women’s health. With funding from the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, I worked with colleagues in Nigeria to write the Howard University component in the flagship project Global HIV/AIDS Initiative Nigeria. Pharmacy systems and pharmacists’ services at health facilities and in the community were strengthened by expanding the capacity to provide pharmaceutical care for those infected with HIV/AIDS, sexually transmitted infections and tuberculosis.

What do you see as the future of pharmacy?
Pharmacists have always had a voice but we have not used it to its full potential. I think pharmacists are finally starting to use their voices in new and exciting ways. At long last, we are beyond just talking about the role of pharmacists. We are carrying it out at strategic levels.

What advice would you give to aspiring pharmacists?
Let pharmacy continue to inspire you. Dedicate yourself to reducing health disparities, improving public health, and caring for the underserved in a culturally competent and compassionate manner. Pharmacy is a field that will grant you opportunities to make a difference in people’s lives.

From Watts to the World: A Chronicle of Service is available on and